Commentary

Development Academy award winners in good company

By Mike Woitalla

In the wake of the 2015-16 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, which concluded last weekend with FC Dallas winning both the U-15/16 and U-17/18 national titles, U.S. Soccer has announced the DA year-end awards.

Among the players honored:

FC Dallas midfielder Weston McKennie, who left his team after the U-17/18 quarterfinals to go on trial with Germany's Schalke 04, which is reportedly engaged in a tug-of-war with FC Dallas for the 17-year-old who was MVP when the U.S. U-19s won the Slovakia Cup in May.


Weston McKennie, Slovakia Cup MVP

The other Conference Players of the Year at U-17/18s were Isaiah Young (Players Development Academy), who has committed to Wake Forest, and Elijah Rice (Real Salt Lake AZ), who is headed to the University of Washington.

FC Dallas' 16-year-old Paxton Pomykal, who made the U-15/16 Central Conference Best XI, started for FC Dallas U-17/18s in their 2-1 final win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The U-15/16 Conference Players of the Year were Emanuel Perez (Capital Area RailHawks-CASL), Griffin Dorsey (Colorado Rush) and Andrew Paoli (San Jose Earthquakes).

Some names that pop up when perusing past Development Academy award winners:

U.S. national team players Jordan Morris, a rookie with the Seattle Sounders, and Matt Miazga, who left the Red Bulls last January for Chelsea, were Conference Players of Year in 2013. Another current U.S. national team player and a regular starter with FC Dallas, Kellyn Acosta, was a Best XI selection that year.

Best XI picks in 2011 included DeAndre Yedlin, a Seattle Sounder before moving to the English Premier League after playing for the USA at the 2014 World Cup, Wil Trapp, currently starting for the Columbus Crew, Lonestar SC Academy's Khiry Shelton now a NYCFC attacker, and the New England Revolution's Diego Fagundez, who at age 21 has played 140 MLS games and scored 31 goals.

2015-16 Development Academy Awards

Under-15/16 (1998-99) Awards
East Conference
GOALKEEPER: Trey Miller (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS: Wilhelm Jacques (FC Boston Bolts), Rayshaun McGann (Philadelphia Union), Jake Morris (Weston FC), Jake Walker (Weston FC)
MIDFIELDERS: Raul Aguilera (Orlando City SC), Josue Monge (Philadelphia Union), Jose Carranza (D.C. United)
FORWARDS: Emanuel Perez (Capital Area RailHawks - CASL), Simon Becher (Oakwood SC), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Emanuel Perez (Capital Area RailHawks - CASL)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Victor Pastora (Weston FC)

Central Conference
GOALKEEPER: Alex Fetterly (Texas Rush)
DEFENDERS: Griffin DeBolt (Crew SC Academy), Jose Bencomo (Colorado Rapids), Aedan Stanley (St. Louis Scott Gallagher-Missouri), Jaylin Lindsey (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Damen Marcu (Real Colorado), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS: Griffin Dorsey (Colorado Rush), Rhys De Sota (Real Colorado), Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Griffin Dorsey (Colorado Rush)
COACH OF THE YEAR: David Richardson (Sockers FC)

West Conference
GOALKEEPER: Trey Muse (Seattle Sounders FC)
DEFENDERS: Christopher Grey (San Jose Earthquakes), Jake Arteaga (LA Galaxy), Carson Vom Steeg (Real So Cal), Glademir Mendoza (Real Salt Lake AZ)
MIDFIELDERS: Andrew Paoli (San Jose Earthquakes), Christian Soto Rincon (Crossfire Premier), Jonathan Estrada (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS: Kyle Holcomb (Pateadores), Kevin Negrete (LA Galaxy), Arda Bulut (San Jose Earthquakes)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Andrew Paoli (San Jose Earthquakes)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Paul Holocher (San Jose Earthquakes)

Under-17/18 (1996-97) Awards
East Conference
GOALKEEPER: Andrew Verdi (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS: Sean O'Hearn (PA Classics), Benjamin Issroff (BW Gottschee Academy), Dylan Chain (Capital Area RailHawks - CASL), Jeremy Kelly (Capital Area RailHawks - CASL)
MIDFIELDERS: Conor McGlynn (BW Gottschee Academy), Danny Griffin (Oakwood SC), Abdulkadir Haji (Seacoast United)
FORWARDS: Isaiah Young (Players Development Academy), Patrick Okonkwo (Georgia United), John Denis (Beachside SC)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Isaiah Young (Players Development Academy)
COACH OF THE YEAR: John Bradford (Capital Area RailHawks - CASL)

Central Conference
GOALKEEPER: Ben Hale (FC Dallas)
DEFENDERS: Mauricio Pineda (Chicago Fire), Hector Montalvo (FC Dallas), Reginald Cannon (FC Dallas), Spencer Glass (Indiana Fire)
MIDFIELDERS: Suniel Veerakone (Crew SC Academy Wolves), Djordje Mihalovic (Chicago Fire), Weston McKennie (FC Dallas)
FORWARDS: Brandon Guhl (Texas Rush), Devin Vega (FC Dallas), Emmanuel Sabbi (Chicago Magic PSG)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Weston McKennie (FC Dallas)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Lars Richter (Crew SC Academy Wolves)

West Conference
GOALKEEPER: Cameron Douglas (Sacramento Republic FC)
DEFENDERS: Nabilai Kibunguchy (Sacramento Republic FC), Marco Farfan (Portland Timbers), Alex Knox (Real Salt Lake AZ), Erick Gallinar (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS: AJ Vergara (LA Galaxy), Alec Felix (Real Salt Lake AZ), Handwalla Bwana (Seattle Sounders FC)
FORWARDS: Ethan Zubak (LA Galaxy), Augustine Williams (Nomads SC), Elijah Rice (Real Salt Lake AZ)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Elijah Rice (Real Salt Lake AZ)
COACH OF THE YEAR: Benjamin Ziemer (Sacramento Republic FC)

Club Awards
Community Awards
East: Jacksonville FC
Central: St. Louis Scott Gallagher Metro
West: Merced Atlas Soccer Academy

Administrator of the Year
East: Dion Daniels (IMG Academy)
Central: Karen Read (Vardar)
West: Gary Whitehouse (Crossfire Premier)

Under-13/14 (2000-01) Awards
EAST COACH OF THE YEAR: Christian Gonzalez (New York Soccer Club)
CENTRAL COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Hayden (FC Dallas)
WEST COACH OF THE YEAR: Jimmy Nordberg (FC Golden State)

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